By Ar. Prashant Sutaria
|Estate Square, Ranchi|
Ar. Prashant Sutaria dwells on the role of the architect as an influential instrument of ‘better urban housing in the affordable category’…
"With growing economy and urbanization, a country like India is facing a major challenge in the form of housing,” says Ar. Prashant Sutaria. He continues: As of today, there is a shortage of almost 30 million houses and the requirement for affordable housing is predominantly felt among the economically weaker sections (EWC). This is one segment of society that very few private sector enterprises wish to build for and consequently comes under the purview of government or semi government organizations.
Having said this, one realizes that the challenges faced by these developers are many. What begins with a complicated and bureaucratic approval process is also bogged by continually rising land and construction costs, labour and technology costs… Adding a bleak streak is the shortage of micro financing companies and the lack of sufficient project finance at affordable costs.
Yet, despite these challenges the silver lining is that the home finally sells like hot cake!
The role of an architect here is very significant and very challenging. The architect can contribute in following manner:
1) A very efficient and innovative plan can optimize usable-to-built up area.
2) An innovative architectural planning can centralize service shafts and maximize common walls to reduce construction costs.
3) Effective use of natural cross ventilation along with appropriate measures for solar protection can save energy bills for the occupants.
4) The finer side of the built environment like gardens, play areas, social interactive spaces and the overall feel of the project can have an artistic touch to give it a qualitative look.
5) The architect can contribute in selecting the right color schemes and materials for creating a central theme for the project.
|Giving human scale to the development|
|Common areas play an important role|
If the importance of architect's role and the need as well as the opportunities that this segment has to offer is understood by the fraternity, then we all can contribute significantly towards creating a better urban housing in the affordable category.
Incidentally, Prashant Sutaria Architects were recently conferred the BERG Awards for Real Estate in the category ‘Affordable Residential Architecture’ for their Estate Square project in Ranchi. This project is the product of a vision, which was to design and arrive at a solution, which can be applied to ‘All Mass Housing Projects’ in ‘Tier III’ cities across India.